So, these are the things that I need to sort out:
1. Check emails at specific times
The average person checks email 77 times a day, sends and receives more than 122 email messages a day, and spends 28 percent or more of their workweek managing a constant influx of email.
Jocelyn K. Glei, author of “Unsubscribe: How to Kill Email Anxiety, Avoid Distractions, and Get Real Work Done” says that while checking emails throughout the day may make you feel productive, the opposite is true.
In an interview with The Telegraph, Jocelyn said, “…keep work emails short, simple and if something can’t be resolved quickly on email, suggest a meeting or simply walk to your colleague’s desk to confirm a plan. You’ll be rescuing yourself and others from those annoying email threads that drag on for a whole afternoon, interrupting everyone involved.”
I need to use Thomas' action approach to clear my inbox more:
When opening an email - make a quick decision: delete/archive, act now (if it takes a minute or two) and then reply/archive, send a quick reply (and then archive).
I tend to read and leave them, which just means they build up and build up and then I feel like Newman!
2. Focus on importance and suppress urgency
Resist the tyranny of the urgent. Urgency wrecks productivity. Your ability to distinguish urgent and important tasks has a lot to do with your success.
Urgent tasks are tasks that have to be dealt with immediately. Important tasks are things that contribute to your long-term mission, values, and goals.
My time is often spent on the urgent because there is so much urgent stuff to do!
3. Focus on one thing at a time
Start your day by tackling high-value tasks you can complete in the morning. This will keep you motivated to get the next task done in time.
In his book, “The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results” Gary Keller said, “Success demands singleness of purpose. You need to be doing fewer things for more effect instead of doing more things with side effects. It is those who concentrate on but one thing at a time who advance in this world.”
Charles Dickens once said “I never could have done what I have done without the habits of punctuality, order, and diligence, without the determination to concentrate myself on one subject at a time.”
Funnily enough, I can do this easily at home on the weekends - clear the driveway, bury a water pipe, wash the car...and so on. But at work it's trickier to keep this regime going. There are many demands but I aim to maintain the 'touch it only once' policy as much as I can.
There you have it - three key things to work on, as well as carving out some me time each day.